Yep, 11 years ago today I signed up with the Fool. I've come a long way from fantasizing about the riches coming from Beating the Dow to a today's mix of mechanical timing and Fidelity Sector momentum investing. I wrote a bit of my history on my 10-year anniversary: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=26718113
The good news from last year was that I beat the market by almost 20% points, but the bad news is that I was still down 18%. I'm up about 12% YTD due to a combination of bear/bull market signals, superior six, Fidelity Sector rotation and a little bit of using my gut. I've enjoyed a lot less volatility through the use of timing and asset allocation Fidelity is a bit behind the market because I got blindsided by the health care sector picks when politics turned against them in a big way. Great news on the college funding front - the kids' accounts were 85% cash from 10/07 until 4/09 and missed the entire bear. This was partly because I was being more conservative with college fund allocations which I will start needing in 6 years than with my retirement funds.
I've moved a majority of my investing strategy to timing as I find it much easier to manage my 12 family accounts with big ETF positions rather than a complex web of stock screens. In the last year, I had to take over my father's IRA whose dementia got to the point where he could no longer manage it. I found his account at a high commission broker ($50 trades) with 117 stock positions in addition to preferreds that tanked, bonds and others totaling 170 positions. At one point it was down 55% from the high. Ugh! At least it is even for the year after despite some withdrawals. There are still too many positions, but I'm paring them down to something more manageable. I still need to get the account moved to a discount broker.
Though I've managed to post infrequently in the last year, I follow the board almost daily. I like how the board has evolved from the early years to fairly advanced databases and a general recognition of the reliability of various strategies based on the depth/length of the data. The discussion rarely devolves into personal attacks which used to be a big problem. I'm grateful to the regular and infrequent contributors including those who do a lot of the relatively hidden work to help this community moving forward. I also really enjoy recently seeing the occasional posting by some of those, like me, who started on this board in the early years.
Good luck and good returns to all,